Disruption for HR too is in the offing.....Watch out the space!

“One has to passionately believe it is possible to change the industry, to turn it on its head, to make sure that it will never be the same again.” Richard Branson
The captioned article which appeared in Economic time of 25th June, 14 stating “Entire generation of IT managers set to lose jobs as frugal companies embrace automation”. These professionals came from a generation of engineering graduates who joined the sector during its boom years at the start of the new millennium. It further stated that automation is beginning to replace monitoring roles, and the software services companies are looking for ways to cut the flab by eliminating layers of highly paid managers whose jobs can be automated. 

Skills that were built over a period of ~ 10-15 years are no more required and all of a sudden you come to a dead end.  As Robotic process automation take a centre stage and present industry with the exciting possibility of not only improving productivity, cost optimization, enabling growth that is non linear, however, also plays a critical role in reshaping the market and workforce landscape. A thought flashed through my mind; could a similar fate happen to our HR professionals as well?" 

As per the The Conference Board CEO Challenge survey 2014, Human Capital remain at the forefront of Global CEO's mindset and it emerges as No. 1 challenge followed by Customer Relationships, Innovation, Operational Excellence and Corporate Brand and Reputation.

It is high time for us in HR if we want to remain relevant, to start thinking how to help global CEO's deal with the Human Capital challenges by visualizing shape of future workforce, developing a diverse and accountable leadership pool, keeping a step ahead of paradigm shift in engagement practices for 21st century workforce and its imperatives. I was wondering during my course of employment if I would be asked to Hire a Robot instead of an employee?  There is already a talk about moving beyond span of control to new measurements like man to machine ratio etc.

In a book published by Edward E. Lawler III, Contributor, Forbes along with John Boudreau, he has mentioned that HR spends less than 15% of its time as a strategic business partner. It spends more than 80% of its time in dealing with the implementation and administration of HR policies and practice including Compliance, managing compensation, employee benefit programme, maintaining employees’ records, driving appraisals etc. which are mostly transactional in nature. And some companies have already taken the steps to automate or outsource some of these functions. Do we have to automate or outsource is not the question now days, what and how much is the question?

We do not have an option but to come out of our comfort zone of making ourselves specialists in transactional jobs. We need to create a niche for ourselves and think how we can add value to the business in current scenario, envision future trends and flex our strategies accordingly. 

In my next series of articles I will touch upon the transactional part of HR, what are the key mistakes we make as HR professionals, how we can optimize the transactional spectrum to free our bandwidth to focus on our core job, and what exactly is our core job.

Watch out for the space…

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